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Internet control points as LGBT rights mediation

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Conflicts over lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, similar to other social struggles, are increasingly materializing within technical functions of Internet governance and architecture rather than at the surface level of content. This paper examines how various functional areas of Internet governance, such as the assignment of domain names, the policy-making role of private information intermediaries, and intellectual property rights enforcement mechanisms serve as control points over LGBT speech, identity expression, and community formation. This turn to Internet governance control points to mediate LGBT rights has implications for public policy, for scholarship at the intersection of Internet governance and human rights, and for media companies and activists in their work of shaping infrastructures that can promote free expression and human rights.
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Keywords: Internet architecture; Internet governance; Internet policy; LGBT rights; free expression; human rights

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Communication, American University, Washington, DC, USA

Publication date: June 2, 2016

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